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Beyer Bill Lets ATF Do Its Job

ATF Enforcement Act Would Remove Restrictions Currently Hampering Law Enforcement

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Washington, April 12, 2016 | comments

Citing constraints on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that prevent it from carrying out its mission to enforce gun safety laws, Congressman Don Beyer introduced the ATF Enforcement Act today.  In addition to removing procedural blocks that prevent the ATF from protecting American families, the bill would also allow the ATF Director position to bypass the Senate confirmation process.

“Very few people deny that gun violence is a serious problem,” said Rep. Beyer.  “But too often when you look for solutions, the gun lobby and its allies in Congress insist that the laws on the books must be better enforced.  That’s why I am introducing the ATF Enforcement Act, which will restore ATF’s ability to enforce existing gun laws by removing limitations on operations, enforcement, and day-to-day functions.”

Since the ATF Director position was first made subject to Senate confirmation in 2006, lawmakers backed by the gun lobby have refused to confirm the nominees of both Democratic and Republican presidents. This vacuum at the very top severely hampers ATF’s ability to carry out its mission.

“Gun violence kills over 30,000 people each year, yet gun-lobby-backed Congressmen and women took advantage of procedural tricks to handicap the ATF from enforcing our gun laws,” Beyer added.  “It’s time Congress let the ATF do its job to keep Americans safe from guns.”

The bill would also repeal legislative measures called “appropriations riders” which restrict the ATF from using gun trace data to crack down on bad apple dealers who have poor track records of selling guns used to commit crimes.  In addition to removing restrictions on the use of gun trace data, the ATF Enforcement Act would repeal riders that currently limit recordkeeping, gun dealer oversight, agency functions, and firearms regulations. 

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